I watched a lot of Saturday Night Live in the 1990’s and one of my favorite recurring bits was Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey. The soft music would come on, the gentle first sentence or two would scroll by and then BAM–the usually evil but always absurd gotcha at the end. Like a cross between a haiku and a fart. I didn’t know Jack Handey was a real person until a few days ago when he released his first novel: The Stench of Honolulu.
The book is about a guy with very few redeeming qualities who travels to Hawaii with his friend Dan in search of the legendary Golden Monkey. To be honest, the story reminds me of the road trips I took with a high school friend when we were in our early 20’s. We toured the American Southwest, Baja California and even the jungles and beaches of Taiwan. And we did bad things in all of these places. I’ve been trying to figure out which of us was Dan and which was the narrator. He was a little meaner (like the narrator) but he also did all the cooking and vehicle maintenance (like Dan). We were both idiots. It’s a tough call.
I listened to a big chunk of the audiobook at the supermarket last weekend and got plenty of funny looks as I giggled and snorted my way through the aisles. Seriously, this was the funniest stuff I’ve heard in a long time. But that doesn’t mean you’ll find it funny. Plenty of Amazon reviewers say it’s just a big pile of potty jokes and they’re kind of right. I mean, the main character wears his underwear on his head for half the story. On the other hand it really does read like an amazing 240 page Deep Thought. If you have a low brow sense of humor but can also appreciate Sartres, this book is pure gold.